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Friday, October 23, 2020

Gambian students in Wuhan speak

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By Lamin Cham

Gambian students in Wuhan, Hubei province in China, the origin of the coronavirus, have called on the Gambian authorities to learn from the practical steps taken by China to control the virus.

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Ebrima Sarr, a UTG staff on a Master’s programme in China who along with his compatriots have been in isolation for well over three months, told The Brunch on Kerr Fatou that Gambian authorities have to take very strict measures to avoid disaster. ”What has happened in China was a disaster that emerged all of a sudden and shocked everyone with devastating consequences. This had called for emergency tough decisions that included shutting down the whole country’s transport system to stop transmission of the virus and strict enforcement of isolation. What we have seen in The Gambia so far is not even near preparations. By now the army should have been deployed to spray places and roads. Corona is real and deadly and its fight requires tough measures and strict enforcement about which there can be no compromise,” he warned.

He added that government should use the security to ensure that public gatherings are not held within this period and every contact with an infected person is traced.
Asked how they managed life at the height of the crisis, Sarr said he and his colleagues have spent three months in isolation.

”Here you have to buy food and other essentials online which are delivered to your doorstep by specially prepared staff dressed in the right gears. No one goes anywhere and that is strictly enforced,” he said.

Gambia Government support
Mr Sarr acknowledged receipt of the recent Gambia government cash intervention which he said helped them a lot in their present predicament. “It was very helpful but sadly we would need further cash assistance to go through what we hope is the final lap of this global pandemic,” he said.

He said they are disappointed that the initial reaction of the government looked a bit slow or late. “We have been advised by the Gambia Government to stay put in China since the crisis started and we respected that decision so as not to put Gambians at risk. So it bleeds our heart when we learned that people have been allowed to travel from Europe and elsewhere to infect people in the Gambia. The government should have learned from China and other places to shut down the border and airspace long before the first patient could travel to The Gambia,” he lamented.

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